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Showing posts from 2016

Lost Beauties Of The Chambal Badlands - Bateshwar, Padhavali & Mitawali

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Introduction

I hitchhiked with about eight different people for about 30km that day. I hitchhiked on motor-bikes, on mini-trucks having traces of animal-waste, a rickshaw, a jeep and on a tractor. I hitchhiked for distances ranging from 300m to 10km. I had my lunch of roti-sabzi laden with desi ghee on a khat (cot) outside a small house in the middle of nowhere. That day I hitchhiked from the village of Bamore, a little to the north of Gwalior, to Bateshwar, Padhawali and Mitawali and then returned via Rithora and Malanpur.

The Chausath Yogini Temple of Mitawali
The day's exploits were certainly rewarded with not only some amazing monuments, but also a good insight to the lives of the people. All this happened, as I later learnt, in a region which until 2005 was the last stronghold of the feared dacoits of the Chambal ravine. Hindsight says it was an incredibly stupid idea.

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Bateshwar Temples

The Bateshwar Temple complex was my first stop for the day. This site has a staggeri…

Exploring The Monuments Of Gyaraspur

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Introduction

In the heartland of central Madhya Paradesh, lies a sleepy tehsil place called Gyaraspur. The small village surrounded by lush green fields is home to some striking monuments from the ninth and tenth centuries. The monuments bear a mixed stamp of Shaivism and Jainism - indicating the homogeneity and evolution of culture in these parts. The monuments here are the Maladevi and Bajramath temples, the Hindola Toran and the Chaukhamba-Aathkhamba pillars. Gyaraspur was also the home of the iconic Shal Bhanjika - the tree-goddess, revered as the Indian Monalisa.

The Maladevi Temple of Gyaraspur
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Aathkhamba - The Eight Pillars

This is a group of eight pillars located next to the bus-stop. The pillars were a part of an ornate Shaiva temple leading to the main sanctum. All other remains of the temple are destroyed and only the pillars remain. The pillars - contrary to expectation feature a high degree of artistic work and detailing.


The eight pillars

A closer look at the pillars

The Massive Bhojeshwar Temple At Bhojpur

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Introduction

The founding of the city of Bhopal is attributed to the Parmara king Bhoj. The king also founded another place, about 50km South-East of Bhopal on the banks of the river Betwa - Bhojpur. Bhojpur never really took-off, much like the monument around which it was based - the temple of Bhojeshwar. The temple in question is simply massive and lies incomplete to this day. It houses India's largest shiv-ling at more than 2m.

The icon of Bhojpur - Bhojeshwar Temple


The village of Bhojpur
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The Bhojeshwar Temple

The construction of the massive temple dates to the early 11th century and is attributed to King Bhoj. The temple faces west and has a cuboid plan.

The last crowds of the evening
The main sanctum occupies the whole of the temple and houses the huge shiv-ling and its base platform. All offerings are set at this platform only, while access to the shiv-ling is restricted to the priests. The sanctum is open (does not have a door), but access is restricted by means o…